How Women Are Destroying Their Relationships and 3 Ways to Repair Them

Don’t come down on me just yet. It takes two to tango – I get that. I’m not blaming one partner over another either. I am going to address a theme that I’ve seen in my practice over the past few years and one that I see echoed in women I know.

As the other half in a relationship, it’s equal opportunity for accountability and responsibility right?

Right.

Here’s your part, one I see replaying over and over again. Something you can take ownership for and something you can start to change by being really honest with yourself and using these three solutions to repair and rebuild your relationships.

No matter what the beginning- new love is a chemical high – at least for the first year that sets the stage for pair bonding. We are all wired for connection and though the hyper-autonomous might reject this concept, it’s not just cultural, there is a desire for it on deeper levels.

After the chemical cocktail wears off the idea is that we are supposed to then transform into a deeper state of love and connection. The endurance part where deep intimacy starts to develop.

Lots of couples are dropping off after the high wears out. Lots are realizing after living together or getting closer to more permanent commitments that this isn’t what they want. And that’s good. As long as it’s for the right reasons.

Many of us have had unrealistic expectations. The media picture of love and romance is flawed, staged and unsustainable.

Problem #1 is unrealistic expectations.

And really – did you think you could join your life closely with another, that you could co-habitate for any length of time with another human being without them driving you nuts at some point?

Did you really think that everything about you would be adored endlessly or that a completely different independent person with their own history (including triggers, wounds, and habits) wouldn’t ever disappoint you, or hurt you in some way?

Come on!!! Are we really that daft and superficial that we think this coupling thing is going to be that easy? And that when it isn’t, it should be so simple as to peace out?

Give me a break . Let’s all take a moment of silence to pull our collective heads out of our asses.

There. Now take a deep breath. Because this is reality, fairytale endings to Pretty Woman begins don’t actually exist. And that’s a good thing. This is your chance to learn how to hold onto who you are, and love another, and get out of your own way to do some meaningful growth. This is evolution and it’s a ride.

Solution #1 – Change your perspective and expectations and it gets a whole lot more interesting.

Intimate relationships are big fat mirrors that show us often our own weakness, triggers, and even dysfunction. This is why people run from them – it’s not the other person they don’t like as much as what the other person reflects or digs up within themselves.

But who do you know can really admit that? It’s a tough one. It’s easier when it’s someone else’s flaws.

Here’s where we need to get real and grow up. Mature people have acceptance for the dark and the light in another. They have grace for their own flaws and that of their partners.

They understand that two people coming together is complicated, weird and potentially volatile if not just frustrating.

Know that going in and start choosing how to respond to those. With that there are rich highs, more meaningful connection than you’ll ever have in any other relationship, and an opportunity to dig into your character and find the best of yourself for another… hopefully for life.

Short term thinking will kill you here – in the end we all want a life with our most trusted ally and biggest fan – in reciprocity – to walk to the end of this journey with.

Problem #2 Women are becoming cold and mean. This one is a a big clanger here and you might not like me for it.

I’m seeing women become mean. I’m seeing women get power hungry and controlling and try to change their partner into some grovelling infantilized version of his former self to make her feel better, worshipped, more complete. And I hate it.

Women that took on their partners in whatever capacity they are coupled with all the softness, nurturing, love, support, encouragement, admiration and respect that provides an environment for anyone to thrive and excel in. Things that fed his self worth and identity. Providing this cushion of femininity along with strength. And then they take it back.

Often without warning because you became disappointed, disillusioned and unhappy with your life, and yourself.

You want to interrupt me here and say “but you don’t know what he did!”, “but you don’t know what I’ve sacrificed!”.

I don’t. But I have an idea. I’m not addressing issues of addiction, infidelity, or abuse here – those are clearly outside of this. I’m talking about the rest.

Outside of those that are blown apart by addiction – substance, gambling or porn, which I do see lots of, what I’m seeing next is a growing level of dysfunction that wherever it began, is ending with the women shutting off, leaving/or kicking them out, unyielding and uncompromising.

I’m seeing women that have become nit-picking, criticizing, competitive, and mean counterparts that have decided somewhere – conscious or not – that they are no longer on the same team.

These women are holding back their bubbling resentment and holding it against their partners. Over time it becomes too much to bear and the result is a cold, hard woman that looks at her partner with judgment and un-communicated or miscommunicated, but altogether failed expectations.

And the men are being hit with it like a sledgehammer where it will hurt the most. Their partner has turned and now thinks they’re a failure and the entire relationship is their failure. We have female equivalents to this kind of wounding and none of us like it on the receiving end – who likes to be told and shamed for not being good enough? I’ve had it…I didn’t like it.

I’m seeing women that go from being fun loving, exuberant, independent and confident women to self sacrificing, flat, negative martyrs for whom nothing their partner does is good enough.

It’s a complete flip on the old story. I get that women are epigenetically impacted and history has not always been kind to women. I understand every feminist platform that stands for equality. What I don’t get the venom.

I don’t understand the impulse to take power, power we can’t physically take by force, but feel entitled to, by abuse in other ways. By verbal attacks, passive aggressive cold-heartedness and manipulative tactics designed to wound – to wound their partner’s heart as deeply as they can. Often using children if there are any, but otherwise becoming unrecognizable to the woman they used to be.

As they cry about the sacrifices they’ve made for their partner – for him to go explore all his passions and goals, while they stopped going after theirs or while they paused theirs to have children – they forget that they chose that. And at any point, they can un-pause and go after their own aspirations.

Have you been here? Felt this? Do you know that whatever life you sacrificed for the greater good, you can go reclaim and rebuild at any time? And you don’t have to be mean about it or abandon your relationship to do so? Let that sink in for a minute.

That’s Solution #2. Reclaim your life. Turn your focus inwards and start doing this massive character work. 

We choose everyday. And even in a couple, the choices for our lives are made and negotiated and renegotiated and still within our control. We give up our voice and blame “him”. We self sacrifice and praise martyrdom – and blame him. We get very very busy and create disconnection – but it’s “his” fault.

We push him away. We emasculate him with comments about “men” as a group of cliche’d idiots as if we are superior – intellectually and emotionally. Instead of reclaiming our lives we blame, condemn, hold grudges, and bitterness and get hard. Be humble here – it’s not all his fault. You aren’t better than he is. You are equal, but different.

In this slippery slope that happens so fast, we lose every beautiful round edge of softness that they fell in love with. We no longer support, nurture, and encourage. We do for our kids – but we leave our partner out to dry because of all the scorecards we’ve kept where we didn’t get what we wanted or needed.

We want everything – we want it all. We want all the things that he wants from us and somehow instead of modelling it, communicating about it, or being in the state we were when it was easy for him to give it to us – we made it hard. We complain about being hard to love and blame him. But we became hard. Problems 1 and 2 combined.

Solution #3. Redefine your Relationships. Rebalance your Energy.

The goal is a healthy relationship that is a soft place to land – the softest – for each other. The world is hard, our relationships – these closest ones need to not be. The healthiest relationships give each partner expansion and encouragement to explore their passions and goals – in a way that allows them, makes them want to….brings them back home to the softness.

We forget that feminine energy is different than masculine energy – and that anyone can have both but when the balance is off everyone feels unbalanced, guarded, confused. We are becoming too immersed or consumed, as women, with masculine energy for many reasons – sometimes we have to.

As a single parent for many years, I have needed more masculine energy to survive, to be both parents, to push forward. I have also struggled to balance it. When I have encountered a man that really owns his masculine energy without power or force, is solid in it, I feel…. better. More relaxed, more comfortable. This allows my feminine energy to come up and meet it and balance it. It’s yin and yang – complementary, not competitive. I am more grounded and stronger when my feminine energy is allowed to breathe in safety. The dance of those energies are balancing for both – bring out the best in both.

It’s not a power struggle of archaic roles and I never once want you to be submissive or give up your real power and strength. But I want you to explore how your real power and strength comes from this feminine center. It’s balanced. And you don’t have to sacrifice who you are or what you want for it either.

Our strength is in our ability to be flexible, adaptable, to be all the things that we know we are and can be, and still be women.

Have you caught yourself in any of those habits? The jokes about men or husbands as singularly focused, infantile, idiots? Have you tried to elevate your shoddy self esteem by kicking at his character?

Have you sacrificed in places and lost yourself in ways that cause you shame and regret and you’re blaming it on him? Have you become cold, hardened, mean even – and have a list of reasons of how it’s because of him. Have you ended the relationship, forgetting who you were, who he was, in the beginning, and despite his desire to work on it, have become completely shut off?

Listen- I know the history. We all do. I know that inequality is still present and hurts. I know how much it hurts to have men stereotype me just because I’m a woman, try to hurt me with their power because they’re bigger, louder, have more power. But if, in turn, I become that way to every man, because of some of them or because of historical events, then I am not superior, I am not really equal. I’ve become weak, cheap, and hard. And at times, I have.

Instead… I can embrace all the things about me that make me a strong, intelligent, loving woman. I don’t need to prove it to the world – I really only need one man to really get that about it. And don’t we forget that? That we don’t need to prove to all men how strong we are? So stop trying so hard.

Strength is not communicated by beating people over the head with it – it’s exuded.

– If you have sacrificed too much for your partner, family, relationships – do something about it. No whining, no blame, stop it.

– Look at your language. It’s a habit that you might not even be aware of or be trying to be mean with, but it’s immature and weak. Stop it. And while we’re at it – stop being so afraid of building your partner up. No relationship progresses when someone says “well if he’d do this, then I’d do that”.

– Communicate. Where did you lose your voice? If you’re afraid to talk to your partner you might have chosen the wrong one to begin with. You might need to do some individual work here. A lot of men I see feel blind-sided by the separation or the depth of the wounds that might be too late to heal. Not because they’re stupid or don’t listen – because you haven’t communicated effectively.

– Reclaim who you are. Who are you? What do you want? More important than what your partner is doing…what kind of a partner do you want to be?

What I’m afraid of is that in your pursuit of strength, respect, and equality – which you deserve and you shouldn’t have to fight for – is that you’re going to lose the part of you, your femininity, that is one of our greatest assets – it is the seat of our strength.

With the fire in your belly for your own life which I want you to never lose, is the softness of your heart. Your ability to nurture, encourage, and care for and take care of another person makes you beautiful. Learning how to balance your strength and your softness is hard right now, it takes courage, and persistence.

Without it, if these habits continue, you will ruin every relationship that you have. You will be the master of your own misery.

Stop being so reactive. Be introspective. Remember who you used to be when he fell in love with you. Go reclaim your life, go do some work on yourself – for yourself. Take responsibility. and then really look at taking the time, courageously, daily, to start breaking these bad habits, and find the real strength to be soft.

Soft isn’t submissive – it’s supportive – and what you are withholding, you also desire.

If you’re struggling with your relationship patterns and need to reach out for help, email me at tara@westkelownacounselling.com